Feeling isolated or lonely after your stroke?

Ashley
man sitting on a bench by himself

Dealing with the effects of stroke can be an isolating and lonely experience. Talking with someone can help, but can seem scary.

Many stroke survivors report feeling isolated or lonely during their recovery. In our video about isolation after stroke, Andy and Rachel both talk about feeling isolated after leaving hospital.

In this blog, we're going to talk about the different ways you can connect with other people. Connecting with others can be a good start to addressing feelings of loneliness or isolation.

Remember, it's important to start small. If you're struggling with isolation and/or loneliness, start with one or two things. You can then build up to other activities as you gain in confidence.

Talk to someone over the phone

Sometimes you just want to chat with someone. A simple conversation about how you're doing and what the other person has been up to.

This kind of easy chat can go a long way towards reducing feelings of isolation or loneliness. A regular scheduled call with a friend or family member can be a nice way to break up your week and do a bit of low key socialising.

But friends and family don't always understand what you're going through. Sometimes you want to chat with someone who gets it.

We have two telephone services here at the Stroke Association:

  • Helpline - You call our Helpline on 0303 3033 100 to talk to someone who understands what a stroke means. We’re here to listen and can provide more information on the support available.
  • Here For You - This is our telephone service that offers stroke survivors a weekly, 30-minute call with trained volunteers. You can sign up by filling out the online form or calling our Helpline.

And there are, of course, other telephone support services available outside of the Stroke Association:

  • SupportLine offers confidential emotional support to anyone, of any age. Call SupportLine on 01708 765 200.
  • Friendship and advice are available for older people through The Silver Line Helpline. Call them on 0800 4 70 80 90.
  • Different Strokes offers a service for stroke survivors aged 16-25. Contact 0345 130 7172 for more.

Connect with other people online

Not everyone enjoys or feels up to talking on the phone. The Internet is a great way to stay connected with people. There are many ways you can use the Internet to reduce feelings of loneliness or isolation.

Remember to be careful with your personal data whenever you're online. We have a few tips to keep you safe if you aren't sure.

My Stroke Guide has a forum specifically for stroke survivors and their carers. You can discuss your recovery, normal life, and whatever you want. All with people who have been where you are. You might find it helpful to talk about how you’re feeling with others or hear their stories. It’s free and easy to register.

There are also online stroke activities offered through the Stroke Association. They are a great way to meet other stroke survivors and take part in something fun. You can try out genealogy sessions, join in an exercise class, try a weekly quiz and lots more.

Social media can also be an easy way to stay connected with friends, family, other stroke survivors, etc,. There are so many groups and communities on Facebook, Twitter, and other sites.

Meeting face to face

Meeting people face to face can do a lot to reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation. You pick up on so much more body language and feelings of togetherness than you do when online or on the phone.

Stroke groups are a great way to connect in person with other stroke survivors. You can talk about your recovery with people who understand what you're going though. You can find out about stroke groups in your area from our website here.

And of course, regular meet ups with family and friends can make a huge difference. Even a coffee or a short walk in a nearby park. Try to schedule these ahead of time. That way you have time to make any arrangements and you have something to look forward to.

Feelings of isolation and loneliness can be bad for your mental and physical health. If you worry about how your feelings are impacting your health, please speak with your GP.

We also have more recommendations and links to external resources on our main managing loneliness and isolation page.

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